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I have a confession to make….

June 15, 2010

Touring is important.

Everyone in the business says it is.

And I’ve repeated this mantra for YEARS.

And to be honest, I never QUITE FULLY understood exactly WHY touring is SO important for a band or artist to do.

It just made sense.

I mean, all the “successful” and “superstar” artists you see broke through touring.

But just RECENTLY it dawned on me just WHY TOURING IS SO IMPORTANT.

Because touring is really one of the only proven ways to create DEMAND for your music.

Sure, you’re an artist.

You write songs in your bedroom, living room, on airplanes or what not.

People should just “discover” your amazing songs on myspace or on the Internet and buy them, right?

Ha.

Well, that’s a nice dream.

WAKE UP!!!!

Life doesn’t work that way.

The reality is, even with the Internet – and amazing things like youtube and myspace and facebook, you STILL need to CREATE DEMAND for your music. (Well, if you want to make ANY money from your music, let alone a living from it…)

ANYONE can write a song, record it and throw it up on myspace (and millions have).

But what separates you from THEM is touring.

What separates a REAL artist from just an artist making music for fun or as a hobby, is TOURING.

YOU NEED TO TOUR TO CREATE DEMAND FOR YOUR MUSIC.

Now of course there are the exceptions to the rule.

Mainly for teen idols (Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, etc) and pop stars (Britney, etc).

But not many….

Are you Miley Cyrus or a Disney kid? Then you probably don’t need to spend years on the road touring….or do you? Taylor Swift when interviewed on TV recently said she took “any” gig she could get before she was signed. ANY gig! Are you doing the same?

Plus keep in mind that those young artists often spend 5-10 years trying to get their big break through auditioning for TV shows and going on likely hundreds of commercial auditions, paying their dues in other ways, like in crummy TV shows or pilots or small indie films before their big break.

Most actors were at it for 5-10+ years before getting their “big” break. If you don’t believe me, go to imdb.com, and type in your favorite actor’s name and see all the bit parts they had in crappy indie projects before they became famous. Brad Pitt, for example, did quite a few “small” projects before his big break – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000093/. The Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s of the world (i.e. hitting it “big” without “too” much effort) are far less common than 99% of actors! Even Megan Fox did a ton of small TV shows for YEARS before becoming an “overnight success” by being cast in “Transformers” – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1083271/ – but does she or anyone talk about this in interviews? Of course not! She’s a STAR and they want to sell you on the fairytale aspect of that – not the reality that even movie stars slugged it out for years on crappy TV shows!

I know, you want music to be EASY.

But the reality is, if you want fans, you need to EARN them by TOURING and winning them over at a show ONE BY ONE.

Doing meet and greets after each show – signing autographs, being charming, talking to them! Being a real, genuine person! So they’ll tell their friends and your next show will have double the turnout as the last one! Even a show of 10 people can turn into a show or 20 or 30 next time if you meet each fan and they tell 2 friends and bring them to the next show. That 20-30 then can turn into 50 and 75 and 100 and…well, I think you get the picture!

So if you’re making music for fun as a hobby, don’t worry about touring. It can take YEARS to break this way and you probably have a day job and/or family and can’t do it anyhow.

However, if you’re young, driven or just simply REALLY want to “make it”, YOU HAVE TO TOUR.

If you have the hope or dream of EVER getting signed by any label, they likely will want to see you perform LIVE!

And there is no shortcut to becoming GREAT live!

A multi-platinum producer who worked with many huge superstar acts said to me, “there is no ‘shortcut’ to becoming GREAT live – you just have to get out there and perform and your live show should improve on its own, like anything in life does with lots of work and practice!”

So unless someone in your family has left you a million dollars to market and promote your music career, you’re gonna have to do it the “old fashioned way”. (And ironically, ALL of the artists I’ve seen that have had rich parents “help” them with their money, are no further along than artists I see who have not a dime in their bank accounts. In fact, the DRIVE that should be there for an artist who came from nothing should make them work a MILLION times harder than any artist who is handed money to tour or promote their music somehow.)

Nothing works better than hard work.

So there you go – figure out a way to tour and if you write GREAT songs and put on a GREAT live show, one day soon you will likely be very successful!

This summarizes it well:

Touring is important, not because we are “artists” but because we are musical artists. Touring and local dates have been the lifeblood of every professional musician/songwriter the entire history of American music. The symphony and opera are not a part of the landscape of the American musical heritage. American music is dance music and bands going back to the earliest American history are dance bands. The acts you mention as exceptions are also make their money from touring. Miley toured more than half of 2009 and her Dad is constantly touring. Labels and publishing companies make money from record sales and licensing. Artists make money from selling tickets.

Justin K

True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Music Marketing~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
— Jedi Master Yoda


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